We watched this Northern Harrier several times making our way through Mormon Row in the mornings. She would swoop and dive crazily after her prey and flew unlike any other hawk we have seen…
Northern Harriers are the most owl-like of hawks (though they’re not related to owls). They rely on hearing as well as vision to capture prey. The disk-shaped face looks and functions much like an owl’s, with stiff facial feathers helping to direct sound to the ears.
Juvenile males have pale greenish-yellow eyes, while juvenile females have dark chocolate brown eyes. The eye color of both sexes changes gradually to lemon yellow by the time they reach adulthood.
Male Northern Harriers can have as many as five mates at once, though most have only one or two. The male provides most of the food for his mates and their offspring, while the females incubate the eggs and brood the chicks.
Northern Harriers hunt mostly small mammals and small birds, but they are capable of taking bigger prey like rabbits and ducks. They sometimes subdue larger animals by drowning them.
Northern Harrier fossils dating from 11,000 to 40,000 years ago have been unearthed in northern Mexico.
The oldest Northern Harrier on record was 15 years, 4 months old when it was captured and released in 2001 by a bird bander in Quebec.
The Sandhill Crane’s call is a loud, rolling, trumpeting sound whose unique tone is a product of anatomy: Sandhill Cranes have long tracheas (windpipes) that coil into the sternum and help the sound develop a lower pitch and harmonics that add richness.
Sandhill Cranes are known for their dancing skills. Courting cranes stretch their wings, pump their heads, bow, and leap into the air in a graceful and energetic dance.
The elegance of cranes has inspired people in cultures all over the world—including the great scientist, conservationist, and nature writer Aldo Leopold, who wrote of their “nobility, won in the march of aeons.”
Although some start breeding at two years of age, Sandhill Cranes may reach the age of seven before breeding. They mate for life—which can mean two decades or more—and stay with their mates year-round. Juveniles stick close by their parents for 9 or 10 months after hatching.
The earliest Sandhill Crane fossil, estimated to be 2.5 million years old, was unearthed in the Macasphalt Shell Pit in Florida.
Sandhill Crane chicks can leave the nest within 8 hours of hatching, and are even capable of swimming.
The oldest Sandhill Crane on record was at least 36 years, 7 months old. Originally banded in Wyoming in 1973, it was found in New Mexico in 2010.
While camping in Grand Tetons, we were able to see this mighty Bull Moose, I’ve posted other pics of him here…
Before spotting him though, Mark and I were outside, blissfully enjoying our first cup of hot coffee for the morning, It was one of the more cool mornings we had at Gros Ventre campground. A car stopped beside our trailer and parked on the road. It was a bit strange because the road was closed just a bit down the road. The guy finally got out with his camera and gear, which perked my interest! We grabbed our camera’s and woke up our oldest and let her know we were going on a walk. In just a couple of steps up and out of campsite and to the other side of the road we could see what made the other guy stop…
What we thought were two mule deer bucks, ended up being three!
We hung out for a while there and noticed another guy walking right past the deer, with a huge camera. We decided to follow him just a little ways which led to…
This is what we came back to at the campsite…
The kids roasting mini-marshmallows around the fire… 🙂